Tuesday, February 21, 2006
The recent signing of Jeff Weaver helps LAA, at a minimum by providing innings, but the inking will not overcome the advantage Oakland has out west. Based on run differential, the A’s won 92 games last season and without any significant player defections, the A’s should be even better.
They have added Milton Bradley, Frank Thomas, and E. Loaiza, although none are critical. The trio just adds depth and insurance against injuries and performance issues from the youngsters in the rotations, and the holdovers at OF/1B/DH slots. The A’s are an extremely deep club aside from the positions to the left of first base.
A healthy Mark Ellis and Bobby Crosby is the biggest reason for an A’s return to October baseball. The middle infielders will likely play more than 206 games in 2006, which will be a huge boost to an offense that struggled most of 2005. But Eric Chavez will determine if Oaktown runs away with the title or LAA has a punchers chance. At 27, Chavez hit a disappointing 269/329/466 with all of his core indicators (BB, K rates and isolated power) heading in the wrong directions. It is a concern, but with his solid track record and still in his theoretical prime, Chavez can put up all-star numbers again. If so and with their solid pitching and defense, the A’s could win easily out west.